The first European Enterprise Architect User Group meeting was held in London at the Institute of Directors in London on Tuesday 9th October 2012.
The meeting sponsored by Dunstan Thomas Holdings Ltd, LieberLieber GmbH, and Ability Engineering Ltd was well attended with around 40 attendees.
The meeting presented an opportunity for Enterprise Architect users from a wide variety of organisations from varied disciplines to meet and exchange experiences in addition to the more formal part of the meeting.
The formal agenda of the meeting comprised of five main sections
1) Introduction to Enterprise Architect version10
Presented as an hour long video narrated by senior members of Sparx Systems it highlighted the new features that will be included in the next release. As Sparx have requested that these not be made public I cannot describe the highlights, but needless to say the future of Enterprise Architect looks very bright indeed. Useful additional information was provided by Daniel Siegl of LieberLieber GmbH.
2) Creating Excellent Documents
Presented by Ian Mitchell of Ability Engineering Ltd, the session provided attendees with an insight into the easy and flexible manner in which quality documentation can be produced from Enterprise Architect repositories directly into Word documents. The product, known as eaDocX (pronounced “EAdocks”), provides an intuitive interface which allows great flexibility in the production of documentation, including formatting rules and powerful relationship analysis. Ian also demonstrated the Corporate Edition of eaDocX ability to integrate with Excel which opens a wealth of round-trip possibilities.
3) Requirements Management – The Best of Both Worlds
Presented by Phil Chudley of Dunstan Thomas Holdings Ltd who made the case for organisations having both a high-end Requirements Management System and Enterprise Architect so as to leverage and consolidate the best functionality of both products. This can be achieved through the use of import / export between the two systems, or through the use of an extension written especially to provide integration functionality. Sparx Systems provide such an extension for DOORS. Phil supported his discussion by illustrating an extension, available from Dunstan Thomas Holdings Ltd that provides integration between MicroFocus (Borland) CaliberRM (versions 2008 and 10.1) and Enterprise Architect.
4) EA in Distributed Environments
Presented by Daniel Siegl from LieberLieber GmbH who drew on their in depth experience with Enterprise Architect to provide a very informative session on the options, advantages and disadvantages of using Enterprise Architect in a distributed environment. The shared database, local database with central version control and Enterprise Architect’s security model were discussed and compared. The surprise was Daniel also covered the use of Enterprise Architect on the web and in the cloud illustrated by a tantalising demonstration of EnArWeb a product which gives real-time access to EA textual data via a web interface and available from LieberLieber GmbH.
5) User Stories
No not Agile! The last session was most informative as it provided an opportunity for Matt Taylor from Pilat Media, followed by Xinming Jin from Barclays Bank to share with the user group their experiences in using Enterprise Architect to create very large model repositories. Matt described how his BA team (distributed world-wide) have adopted Enterprise Architect for all client facing projects. They use BPMN 2.0 as their modelling notation and eaDocX for all their documentation requirements. It was most inspiring to her how his team have migrated from the “Visio Approach” to the modelling approach reaping the benefits of good repository structure, re-usability and traceability.
Xinming shared a constructing approach in the use of Enterprise Architect, using a depth wise approach rather than a breadthwise approach. Barclays Bank have developed a really enormous repository in which they have modelled everything from Customer UI, through Business Processes, Conceptual Data Model right down to very specific and highly customised Java code generation. Indeed, Xinming drew gasps of amazement and admiration when he mention that tens of thousands of lines of quality and consistent Java code has (and is being) generated from their reposirtory.
A fundamental point conveyed by both presenters is that Enterprise Architect is perfectly scalable to handle extremely large and complex model, providing that the repository is well structured and everyone involved in the project has the necessary “buy-in” as to the benefits in modelling and in the use of Enterprise Architect.
The feedback received was extremely positive and the consensus of option was that regular meetings should be organised.